Speaking to the media for the first time after replacing Mattia Binotto as Ferrari team principal, Vasseur said earlier this week that the last season runner-up Leclerc would not be his first-choice driver this season, sending shockwaves across Formula 1 arena.
If truth is to be spoken, Leclerc had been a strong title contender last year before having been met with a cascade of engine failures and management slants.
Besides, the Monacan had to retire thrice while leading the grid comfortably last season due to engine failure. The unfortunate management facades eventually costed Binotto his job and what could have been a first F1 championship title for Leclerc, who had to finish 2022 F1 season 146 points behind Verstappen following a flurry of managerial flaws.
Vasseur says Leclerc would not be his first priority this season
Meanwhile, addressing to the reporters for the first time after taking charge of Ferrari, Vasseur said, “It is a clear situation. We have two very good drivers and they are both able to do the job.
We will have the capacity to provide them with exactly the same car, structure and support. The target is to win with Ferrari and for Ferrari and there will be no number one and number two. But if at one stage we have to take action, I will take action and it doesn't matter if it is for one driver or the other.
When you are at a top team you cannot have another target than to win. You can't start the season and say: 'we want to finish second' That shows a lack of ambition. We have everything to do a good job and the target is to win the championship and if you want to win the championship you have to beat Red Bull - I am convinced we have everything to win”.
Leclerc won two out of 19 events last season, while his 28-year-old teammate Carlos Sainz had seized his first F1 victory last season.
Ferrari Faces Challenges at Japanese Grand Prix
Ferrari's Surprising Dominance Ignites Marina Bay in Spectacular Grand Prix Opener
Max Verstappen Remains Hopeful Despite Ferrari's Strong Qualifying
Adam Driver Holds Back Tears at "Ferrari" Premiere After Prolonged Ovations
Charles Leclerc is 'delighted' by the fact that Ferrari will have a new car in 2024
Charles Leclerc Confident: Ferrari Poised for a Remarkable Outcome in Hungary